ESPN’s Sage Steele apologizes for controversial feedback about Obama’s racial id and vaccine mandates

Steele has been faraway from air following feedback made throughout a September 29 podcast episode of “Uncut With Jay Cutler.”

In an announcement to Muricas Information, Steele mentioned: “I do know my latest feedback created controversy for the corporate, and I apologize. We’re within the midst of an especially difficult time that impacts all of us, and it is extra crucial than ever that we talk constructively and thoughtfully.”

Whereas recording the podcast hosted by the previous NFL quarterback, Steele made a number of feedback that left many in sports activities media scratching their heads. Whereas speaking about ESPN’s firm vaccine mandate, Steele mentioned she respects a person’s determination to get the Covid-19 vaccine “however to mandate it’s sick, and it is scary to me.”

She additionally spoke to Cutler about her id as a mixed-race lady, questioning Obama’s determination to establish as Black on the census.

“I am like, ‘Properly, congratulations to the president.’ That is his factor. I believe that is fascinating contemplating his Black dad was nowhere to be discovered, however his White mother and grandma raised him, however hey, you do you. I will do me,” Steele mentioned.

Steele additionally made feedback about feminine sports activities reporters and sexual harassment, saying that girls have to “be accountable” and it “is not simply on gamers and athletes and coaches to behave a sure approach.”

“I’ve had talks with younger ladies … they’re like ‘Oh, would you have a look at my tape, would do that,’ and I’ve mentioned pay attention, I’d like to. However the best way you current your self shouldn’t be one thing I wish to be related to,” she informed Cutler, who nodded. “So if you gown like that, I am not saying you deserve the gross feedback, however what you are doing if you’re placing that outfit on, too.”

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In an interview with Muricas Information’s Brianna Keilar on New Day Wednesday, former ESPN host Cari Champion, who at present co-hosts “Cari & Jemele Will not Stick with Sports activities,” mentioned many younger brown ladies within the trade, together with herself, had regarded as much as Steele. To listen to her make anti-Black feedback and demean ladies, she mentioned, was disappointing.

“(Steele’s feedback) implied so many issues that have been hurtful,” mentioned Champion, who said that she has labored with Steele previously. “And it additionally exhibits that there is a lack of an consciousness on her half.”

Concerning her feedback about ladies reporters particularly, Champion mentioned that mentality, particularly in a male-dominated enterprise like sports activities broadcasting, solely pushes ladies “additional down.”

“(Steele) thinks that she has taken the ethical excessive floor, and fairly frankly all she’s executed is separated herself and put a division between ladies in a enterprise that already places a division between us,” Champion mentioned. “It makes it laborious for us to get alongside as a result of we really feel like we have now to compete. And it is so disappointing.”

ESPN is having non-public discussions with Steele, a spokesperson for the community mentioned in an announcement.

“At ESPN, we embrace totally different factors of view — dialogue and dialogue make this place nice. That mentioned, we anticipate that these factors of view be expressed respectfully, in a way in keeping with our values, and according to our inner insurance policies,” they mentioned. “We’re having direct conversations with Sage and people conversations will stay non-public.”

Steele’s feedback and her suspension come simply over a month after the community eliminated one other well-known host, Rachel Nichols, from her protection of the NBA and canceled her present “The Soar,” after the New York Instances reported in July feedback that she made about one other NBA analyst, Maria Taylor throughout a non-public dialog in 2020.

In accordance with the Instances’ report, Nichols, who’s White, mentioned Taylor, who’s Black, was chosen to steer NBA Finals protection because of the firm’s range efforts.

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Nichols later apologized on air.

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